America’s once-a-decade head count gives Republican-leaning states 11 more seats in Congress.

U.S.-MapAmerica’s once-a-decade head count gives Republican-leaning states 11 more seats in Congress, adding impact to state-level GOP victories in last month’s elections that gave the party a stronger hand in redrawing voting districts across the U.S.

States throughout the South and West dominated by the GOP will add House seats as a result of the new U.S. population count released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday, while traditionally Democratic states will shed representatives. While some of the shifted seats will likely still end up in Democratic hands, the overall changes put the Republican Party in a stronger position to hold control of the House in the 2012 election.

The census report underscores a demographic shift under way for decades, as people and jobs have migrated away from the northern and central U.S. toward warmer, faster-growing climes in the Sunbelt.

The total U.S. population is now 308,745,538, according to the 2010 census, up 9.7% from 2000. That is the slowest growth rate since the decade of the Great Depression, mainly a reflection of lower immigration during the 2007-09 recession.

Now begins the arduous process of redistricting, in which states redraw boundaries of all 435 House districts to reflect population shifts.

Republicans picked up 63 seats in the midterm elections last month, giving them the majority next year when the new Congress is sworn in. They predict a further gain of 10 to 20 seats through redistricting in the 2012 election.

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Source: Patrick O’Connor and Conor Dougherty | The Wall Street Journal